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Tiger on the prowl near Lucknow eludes officials

National, Tue, 16 Dec 2008 IANS

Lucknow, Dec 15 (IANS) A tiger that strayed from the forests and has been on the prowl for almost a month near the Uttar Pradesh capital, continues to elude wildlife officials even after the animal was spotted close to the city.


Even when a team of armed wildlife officials spotted the feline at a fairly close range, in the vicinity of Lucknow Monday afternoon, they were unable to tranquilise the animal.



'We were unable to get close enough to the tiger to use our tranquiliser guns,' Senior Forest Research Officer Ajit Narain Singh told IANS.



Evidently, the tiger, which is estimated to be around two-and-a-half years old, had come within 10 km of Lucknow.



Singh, who is heading the tiger rescue team and is known for his expertise in tranquilising tigers said: 'The tiger kept hiding behind bushes or trees and we just could not get a clear view to hit the animal straight with a tranquilser dart.'



'The animal had strayed out of the forests of Pilibhit to come close to Lucknow after crossing Shahjahanpur, Sitapur and Barabanki districts. It bypassed Lucknow city by moving along the banks of the Gomati river sometime late last night and was now heading towards Haidergarh (about 45 km from the state capital),' Singh added.



Asked why he did not use his normal rifle to shoot down the wild cat that had left thousands of people panic-stricken he said: 'We have taken a decision not to kill the tiger, otherwise, it was well within the range and sight of the normal rifle.'



Singh is confident of capturing the tiger alive.



'Either we will get him alive or we will manage to drive him back into the wild,' he said.


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